Expired!

Yikes.. it’s been way too long! A year has passed! My oh my! This is terrible!

Anyways, I’ve been busy with work and the little one. She’s nearly 15 months old. Healthy and recovered well from the surgery.. the specialists are very impressed with her progress. We’ve been visiting the specialists every 3-4 months, done several echos and had different vaccinations. I am squeamish so I never dared to watch when the nurses poke her. I will wait outside the room while her dear daddy hold her and comfort her throughout the process. She has started walking since she was 10 months old, never really tried to crawl and can point to many things when asked like the cat, her hair, belly button, toes, nose, mouth, ears, eyes and many more. She loves pointing at photographs, reading her books, drinking Yakult, hugging her toys, kissing everyone especially her little cousins and the cat, singing karaoke and says “yummy” and “mummy” a lot 🙂

As for work, there has been a lot of things that I gotta get used to. Being in a new environment, you have to start from scratch and prove yourself all over again. It’s been tiring but everyone has been very kind and helpful. However, even with these new friends, I still miss my friends in YI. Unfortunately, we all had to move on.

Thankful

Firstly, thank you for all the prayers and good wishes. The surgery went well and Julia is doing great. Here’s an update of the entire process, which is way long overdue.

The surgery happened on 22 December and we were asked to be at the hospital a day earlier so that they can monitor and prepare her. Several doctors came to ask questions, did tests and even “set lines” in her hand so that they can insert the drip. She cried her lungs out when they poked her and as any parent will tell you, it pains you that you can’t do anything to relieve a child’s suffering. We were told that the surgery will take place the first thing in the morning. So both Appie and I stayed with her throughout the night. As with every surgery, one will have to fast at least several hours prior to the procedure. Julia had to fast too. I feared not being able to comfort her if she was hungry in the middle of the night. Thank goodness, she ate well for the last meal and slept through most of the night. When morning arrived, the nurse came and put her in scrubs. We then brought her to the operating theatre in a wheelchair and trying to stay calm, we kissed her cheeks as they carried her in. The next few hours were nerve-wrecking. We were informed of several complications that can take place but we tried to stay positive and calm. However, the lack of sleep from the night before did not help. It made us feel more sick. As the hours crawled by, we wondered why it was taking too long. Creepy thoughts ran through my head. She had been in the theatre for close to 3 hours, and the surgery was supposedly 2 hours long. We tried to find updates but the nurses were not able to provide us with any. We just had to wait. Soon, we received a call on the handphone informing us that the surgery went well and she was being prepared to be sent to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). We felt relieved as the tension eased away. We then made our way to the ward and waited to see her. About an hour later, we saw a glimpse of our tiny girl lying down on a huge bed with lots of wires around her being wheeled into the PICU. We were told to wait as they connect her to the necessary machines for monitoring her vitals as well as providing pain relief and medications. It took about an hour before we could actually go in to see her. When we finally saw her, it broke our hearts to see so many tubes and wires in and out of her tiny little body. The doctors explained what each one was for and how important they were. We were also informed that she would not be awake for the next day or two, and she was heavily sedated with morphine so she would not feel any pain.

As the hours and days go by, the doctors observed her progress and slowly reduced the amount of morphine and other sedatives to “force” her to breathe on her own. A couple of small setbacks happened but overall she was recovering pretty smoothly. By the third day, she slowly woke up with a tiny cry. I presume that she was still too exhausted and uncomfortable from the entire process. We felt relieved that she was awake. But watching her lie in bed with tears at the corner of her eyes, with tubes in and out of every possible part of her body and hearing her whimper softly simply broke our hearts. We felt helpless as we were not able to pick her up and hold her to make her comfortable and relieve her of the pain. However, we saw how strong our bundle of joy can be as she fought her way through.

By Christmas morning, our little darling was improving tremendously. She was barely on any medication and was feeding well. By the fifth day, she was transferred to a normal children’s ward for one more day of observation. On the sixth day, she came home. I’d say her recovery was pretty remarkable and I am certainly thankful for the prayers and wishes from everyone.

When she came home, we noticed a drastic change in her character. She cried a lot, wanted to be held close all the time and seemed more nervous of diaper changes. We think she was still distraught from the entire process. We took our time to just be with her and focused on keeping her comfortable. It certainly took its toll on us, we practically carried her for hours even at night. Some nights she slept in my arms just because she needed to be comforted. However, within a week, she got more comfortable and was sleeping in her own bed.

Since then, we’ve been to the specialists a few times to check if the surgery had helped solve the coartation problem. Indeed it has! The specialists are amazed by her progress and relieved to see that she’s doing great. There is however a tiny hole spotted in her heart but we were told that it won’t cause a problem. They will just monitor it over the years and if need be, it can be corrected easily. However, right now she’s been given a clean bill of health! During our last visit to the specialists, they said she’s progressed phenomenally! She’s put on weight and has grown a lot “longer”. We are certainly proud of her, our little sweet angel who has gone through so much since she came into this world.

As I look back at our stay at the hospital with her, I realised that there are so many children out there who are so sick with life-threatening ailments. Some have known nothing but the inside of a hospital building – fighting for their lives each day. I admire the strength that they and their parents have as they go through the treatment process. It makes me value my life a lot more and feel thankful for everything I have.

Meet Julia Stoelwinder

Meet our little bundle of joy. Born on 19 November, a day short of my 30th birthday.

Baby Julia
Yes.. she’s adorable 🙂

We’ve had several scares throughout the pregnancy.. the VSD, aortic coarctation and on our last checkup, she supposedly weigh 3.8kg and the heart specialist said a possible early sign of heart failure. You can imagine the many stresses we’ve gone through and with her already being in full-term, the doctors agreed that its time to get her out. So we did.

Thankfully, everything was fine during the birth. The specialists were all on standby and she was safely delivered with a healthy weight of 3.285kg and length of 50cm. She was then placed under observation at the neonatal icu. My heart ached every time I saw her with all the tubes and not being able to stay with her throughout the day, since I was in a different ward. She was constantly being monitored by the heart specialist. Four days later, we were given the green light to bring her home.

Since then, we’re getting used to feeding, burping, changing, entertaining and being entertained by her every 2-3 hours. Yes.. parenthood is a lot of work. And we’re enjoying it.. unless we’re sleepy of course! It’s been hard work and thankfully we have the support and help from family members.

Unfortunately though, in our recent checkup.. the heart specialist has advised us of the need for her to go for a surgery to correct the coarctation. We are worried but we know its important for her to go through it. For now, we are praying and hoping everything will go well.

Coming to an end..

Firstly, the pregnancy of course. Its the 37th week and my ligaments are sore. Normal things like typing, writing and picking things up feels like a chore. I’m getting kicked around a lot, which is ermm.. good because it means she’s doing well. I can’t get a lot of sleep because of the constant need to empty my bladder at night and not being able to find a comfortable sleeping position. I guess its nature’s way of preparing me for lesser sleep when she arrives. We have another hospital appointment tomorrow and I can’t wait to see her!

Next, is my time in YI. Its been several years. I will miss all the good friends, colleagues and of course the students. Friends.. I know we can always meet.. so that’s comforting for sure. For students, though most have left, it was always reassuring to know I can see them when they come to visit… but I guess we will have to be make more effort to meet up. Well, when its time to move on, you have to move on. I seriously hope my new school will be as warm and friendly. For now, I’m glad my things in school are cleared. Its amazing how much “rubbish” you accumulate over the years. What is certain though is that I’m definitely not looking forward to saying goodbye.

All cleaned out!

Its almost time for me to celebrate the end of yet another decade. Gosh, time flies. Yes I am getting older and happier. I guess I am blessed to have many amazing opportunities to celebrate this coming of age.. with my best friends in London, buying a new house, getting ready to be a mom and meeting up with ex-primary school mates. The older you get, the more you appreciate all the people you know when you are young.

Ex BVPS Gathering

And lastly as I wait for the year to come to an end, I am travelling to Borean Tundra to keep myself occupied. Till then.. ciao! Enjoy the hols everyone!

Dropped

It’s the 35th week and she has dropped into my pelvic area.. I think.. because I can now breathe a lot better, there’s lesser pressure on my chest but more pressure in the pelvic area, I find more difficulties in walking for a long time and I need to pee a whole lot more. This means she’s on the way. But sources have said it could still be a few weeks before labour actually begins.

Her room is sort of ready. The bed and changing table arrived yesterday.. and of course the stuffed toys are nicely placed, waiting for her arrival. For now, we are just continuing with our daily routines.. just waiting.

Weddings & Celebrations

At last, they are married! It was a busy week filled with lots of celebrations.. many family members and friends from everywhere turned up. Overall, it was a great celebration. Congrats to my dear sister and Che.

We also had another visit to the doctor, went for a 4D scan and for the first time, saw a glimpse of our little one. Here’s her debut.

Work has been keeping me pretty occupied.. finishing the syllabus for the lower sec classes and the consultation hours for my grad students.. the usual stuff for this time of the year. So, this weekend is all about getting that much needed rest and extra sleep. We also managed to fit in a shopping spree for our little one. It’s the 29th week.. so everything is drawing near for sure. Throughout the entire pregnancy, I didn’t have that much problems with many things… thank goodness… except for being tired easily and the uncomfortable sitting or lying positions. Apart from that, I think everything has gone pretty smoothly. And now, I can feel her kicking and moving a whole lot more… which can be both amazing and uncomfortable. Most importantly though, I just hope and pray that she is growing well and will be a healthy baby.

About time!

I tend to forget that I should update this blog as often as I can. Pfft! Oh well.. too bad! Here are some long over-due updates! 🙂

First, we surprised Appie with an “exciting” kids’ party at McDonalds! haha! The staff were sporting enough to play all the games with us. You’d be amazed at how adults behave when prizes are on the line! Even your own parents! haha!

Birthday Surprise!

Next, it was my cousin’s wedding. Wedding’s always nice because it brings everyone together. Anyways, he looked handsome and his bride, Suhaila, looked gorgeous. I wish them both good luck for the years ahead. Remember that patience and communication are very important in any relationship. Listen more, talk less. Give more, take less. And everyday, love each other more.

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In between all the celebrations, school’s been keeping me busy… project work, planning lessons, setting papers, marking, etc, etc. Soon the term will come to an end. And before long, the year is over. Till then, we still have several more tiring months ahead of us. I hope my 4E1 will work hard and not give up on themselves and the subject, even if their prelim results are not as good as they’d like it to be!

Well at least, National Day is over. The SLs sang as usual.. and they did well, in my opinion! A couple of talented singers in our midst for sure. My MCs were great too! Thank you ladies and Felix for taking up the challenge.. despite our limited rehearsals (and mugging for the prelims!), you pulled through! I’m proud of you!

To Izzah, stay strong my dear. You’ll be alright.. you’ve always been strong and determined.

National Day Celebrations with the community

Lastly, Appie and I are awaiting the arrival of our little one at the end of this year. I am nervous and excited about it of course. We’ve had several scares along the way, and thank goodness almost everything is fine so far. We are just praying and hoping that she will be a healthy baby. Here’s a sneak peak of our little one from about a month ago.

And tomorrow is my dear daddy’s birthday! Happy Birthday Abah 🙂

Moving in progress

We’re baaaaaaack! It was a good break. Had a great time catching up with several friends and family. Also, the trip to London with the babes was fun. I miss them loads and can’t wait for them to come back to Singapore for visits!

In the meantime, we found out that Cookie had an ulcer in one of her eyes. It was pretty bad according to Che.. because we were still in Holland when it happened. He brought her to the vet and got the necessary treatment. She’s doing better now and hating the antibiotics that we have to feed her twice a day.

Since we got back from the trip, its been about getting the house to look more like a home. We are getting there.. slowly but surely.

Our New Home

My “Out of Office” message

The Stoelwinders have moved. After being in that house for 3 years, it was time to find a different place to call home. It was a pretty stressful weekend with all the packing and moving. The entire week after that was filled with final arrangements for the old place and ensuring that we’ve moved everything over.

School holidays have also arrived. Thank goodness. For the first week of the hols, I’ve finally managed to finish the entire syllabus with 4E1. Some people didn’t turn up for the lessons. I wish they had cause they missed 5 chapters. Sometimes students do not appreciate the extra lessons that teachers have arranged for them, amidst our busy schedule. And that can be frustrating.

After all that, we packed our suitcases and flew to Holland for our much deserved break. Family gatherings and celebrations are among the plans for this hols. In fact, we have just celebrated Haet’s 63rd birthday. Gefeliciteerd Haet! And of course, the much-awaited London trip with my two best friends. Besides that, we are just planning to take things easy.

Till my next update, take care and hope all is well with all of you!

p.s : I miss my dear cookster, Cookie Wookie! 🙂

The Cook-ster has won!


Yes.. I slept peacefully last night knowing the best man has won. I like David Archuleta but he’s just too boring with his song choices, reactions and voice. It all sounds alike.. after a while. He’s just too young I guess. Of course the win was pretty surprising too because David A’s fan base is very huge.. probably all the teenage girls. Well well.. thank goodness David C’s fan base are the more matured group who can actually afford to vote!

Here’s my two favourite performances from the new American Idol.
I loved his rendition of “Billie Jean” and “Always Be My Baby”.